Further privatize the VA? Not on my watch

Last week’s dismissal of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin undoubtedly will renew the long-standing debate over privatization of Veteran healthcare. It’s no secret the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has had its problems, as the inspector general’s report on Shulkin’s personal use of travel funds has revealed. Other high-profile debacles, like the wait-times scandal at the Phoenix VA in 2014 and, more recently, the staggering cost overrun of the Denver VA, have caused an erosion of the VA’s brand in the public eye. Yet for all these administrative difficulties — real or perceived — further privatization of VA care is not the solution we need.

There definitely is a problem and NPV will solve it

In his March 29 letter to the CTViewpoints, Nicholas Malino gets it wrong. He rejects two arguments in favor Connecticut joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that he hears most often. Unfortunately, he argues with faulty logic in one case and, more importantly, fails to address the best argument in favor of the NPV compact at all.

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty — Champion of women’s rights

When Donald Trump became President, liberal Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty proudly donned the symbolic pink hat, becoming a fierce member of “The Resistance” to protest the ascent of this evil misogynist.   As the #MeToo movement  — a reaction against male sexual assault — gained steamed, she tweeted  “As a young intern and an attorney, I saw and experienced my fair share of harassment in the workplace. I know how traumatizing, isolating, and painful harassment can be. I understand what that does to one’s work environment.”

The NPV will not solve the problem because there is no problem

The is a follow up to John Stoehr’s excellent article a few days ago. Although I agree with very few of the arguments nor his conclusions, it is one of the very few that I have read that presents a cogent and rational argument against the National Popular Vote (NPV). Bravo. I certainly do concur that we should just stick a fork in the National Popular Vote argument and let it go away.

The national popular vote won’t solve the problem

The debate over a proposed compact in which Connecticut would cast its seven electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote is missing the forest through the trees. The problem isn’t that presidents win despite the popular vote. The problem is that presidents win despite not winning a majorities in the states. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it’s not.

Republicans and Democrats must be Americans together

I was 18 years old when I registered to vote at the town hall in my hometown of Fairfield in 1997. I didn’t have my own car at the time, so I had my mother drive me to the Registrar of Voters office after school on my 18th birthday so I could officially be on the voter rolls. I walked into the historic, white-washed Old Town Hall building situated in the center of town, surrounded by old homes and mansions, and filled out the form, with my mom at my side, who I had take a picture of me. It was a key milestone to me – probably even more important for me than getting my driver’s license.

The extraordinary life of Les Payne

It would be difficult to conjure a more arresting rebuke to the current rash of racists and white nationalists —and their enablers in high places— than to remember the life of Les Payne, 76, who died on March 19. Payne, who attended Hartford High School and the University of Connecticut and served his country in Vietnam, rose from challenging circumstances to become a journalist of the highest rank: an investigative reporter, editor and columnist who won one Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for another.

When despots with pot bellies meet

It’s all set, except for every imaginable detail you can think of. President Donald Trump and the “Dear One” will be meeting sometime or other somewhere or other to palaver about TBD.

For the record, “Dear One” refers to Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea —not some participant in, as the song goes, a “third rate romance/low rent rendezvous.”

An energy policy that hastens our own extinction

It seems that these days, we don’t need meteors from outer space any more to erase the dinosaurs. We concoct our own earth-history-disrupting event, with more and more species already extinct or in great danger. And I’m not only talking plants and animals, this time it’s about us. Millions of people, cities and entire regions are at risk of losing their lives, their livelihood, or at least their home. More frequent and more severe storms, floods, mudslides, fires, droughts, loss of habitat and wars for resources — lucky those who are not dinosaurs, who are smaller and more adaptable, or have the option to move somewhere else.

Don’t let Trump de-fund the National Endowment for the Arts

We write as Board Members and Staff of the Connecticut Arts Alliance (CAA) and for the tens of thousands of Connecticut arts organizations and artists on whose behalf CAA works. On February 12, President Trump released his FY 2019 budget request. His proposal includes the termination of our nation’s cultural grant-making agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

On guns and gun violence: ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’

Occasional mass shootings inevitably spark debate to do “something” about gun violence. But we haven’t as a nation done well with curtailing illegal drugs, Opiods, auto deaths, gun suicides and inner city gun deaths – 6,000 plus annually. Second, even if the NRA, gun manufacturers, dealers and importers all vanish tomorrow we’d still have over 300 million guns in circulation. And even if we passed a batch of new laws we’d still have 300 million. That’s more than the entire western world combined. So the sheer numbers of guns are one part of the problem.

Senator, compromise will produce a ‘beautiful’ gun bill

Imagine that.  President Trump has asked Sen. Chris Murphy to work with three reasonable legislators in crafting a “comprehensive” gun bill that is to be “very powerful.” Just a few suggestions to the Connecticut senator as he is one of the most far-left members of Congress. The most important thing is this. You will have to give into negotiations with the other senators. But in doing so you may, just may, give the American people a “beautiful” effective bill that the President will sign into law to keep our schools safe.